July 17, 2015

Mayor Emanuel Commemorates the 25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Today Mayor Emanuel hosted a breakfast to celebrate the 25th  Anniversary of the  Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). During the breakfast held at City Hall, the Mayor  met with the ADA 25 Steering Committee representing the disability community, business,  philanthropy and civic leaders to discuss critical disability initiatives going forward.  The  participants of the meeting engaged in discussions on the progress that has been made to  date and what needs to be done over the next 25 years.  

“The American with Disabilities Act was one of the great civil rights victories of our time. Now 25 years later, it has stood the test of time,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “As Mayor, I remain committed to working to ensure that all Chicagoans are treated with dignity, respect, and have equal access to opportunity.”

Twenty-five years ago on July 26, 1990, the ADA was signed into law, with the purpose of providing a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of  discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Since its inception, Chicago has been a  long-term leader in disability rights with a robust community of actively engaged disability  advocacy leaders and groups.  

In response to the passage of the ADA, the City created the Mayor’s Office for People with  Disabilities (MOPD), to ensure accessibility compliance, promote inclusion and meet the diverse needs of Chicagoans with disabilities.  

Since 2011, the City of Chicago is proud to have installed over 80,000 ADA compliant curb ramps; provided disability accessibility at close to 70 percent of CTA stations; and including the needs of people with disabilities into all city emergency plans.   

The city plans to strengthen its accessibility code and increase accessibility and opportunity in the areas of transportation, cultural institutions, education and employment:

  • CTA is committed towards a vision of 100% rail station accessibility
  • Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is installing a new animal relief  at O’Hare for travelers with service animals
  • Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) has made significant accessibility improvements to its programming and summer festivals
  • Chicago Park Districts will soon have new accessible fitness equipment for individuals with disabilities at two parks
  • Mayor will convene a task force aimed at raising the literacy rate of students with  disabilities (Mayoral Task Force)
  • Working with public and private sector to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities, including internships for high school students with disabilities
  • Mayoral taxicab reforms and incentives will increase the number of accessible taxi’s enhancing transportation options and service levels

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